I have to say, Force Collector really caught me by surprise. This was not on my list of Star Wars novels to read. In fact, my wife bought the Kindle edition for me for exactly one dollar, so I decided to give it a look. After quickly reading two chapters, Kevin Shinick’s YA (Young Adult) novel instantly pulled me in.
Force Collector is a publication on the “Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker“. Similar to Lost Stars, another one of my favorite Star Wars novels, Force Collector tells the story of new characters, but it also weaves in the events of the Skywalker Saga and other canon stories. I highly recommend this quick and engaging read!
What It’s About
Force Collector is set a few years before the events of The Force Awakens and tells the story of Karr, a teenage boy who discovers that he has a mysterious connection to the Force. Accompanied by his friend Maize and repurposed medical droid, RZ-7 (Arzee), Karr sets out on an adventure across the galaxy to discover what his connection to the Force means.
Karr and Maize are from the planet Merokia, but they both desire to leave the planet for different reasons. Karr’s family wishes for him to continue the family tradition by attending tailoring school, but he believes his destiny lies with the Force and becoming a Jedi. His parents are determined to pull him out of regular education because he experiences headaches and seizures when he touches certain objects. They are convinced it is a medical condition, but actually Karr has the Force ability of psychometry, which is the ability to see an object’s past by touching it.
Maize’s father is a First Order officer, who happens to leave a ship behind that Karr and Maize can use for their adventure. The story takes the characters to familiar planets like Utapau, Jakku, and Batuu. Karr and Maize also have interactions with familiar characters such as Maz Kanata, Unkar Plutt, and Dok Ondar. Karr’s interactions with various objects leads him to the discovery of the true story of the Skywalkers. The galaxy at large still believes that the Jedi turned on the Republic, and they have passed into legend and myth.
While it is engaging and interesting to read about Karr’s discovery of the truth about the Skywalker story that the audience already knows, even more engaging is Karr’s place in the story. Similar to Rey, Karr doesn’t know that he is connected to anyone important in the galaxy, so he must discover his own path. By the end of the story, we come to understand Karr’s connection to the Force and what he must do going forward.
What I Thought
Force Collector is probably my favorite Star Wars novel since Lost Stars. Maybe I’m a sucker for YA novels? I absolutely loved this coming of age story about a young Force- sensitive teenager who discovers what his ability really means. Each time Karr would find another object to touch, I was on the edge of my seat to find out what it meant. I am a slow reader and sometimes struggle to get through books, but this was a breeze and I was excited to pick it up each time.
I thought the dynamic between the main characters was excellent. There was always a hint of romance between Karr and Maize, and their banter was a lot of fun. I also really enjoyed the dry humor of RZ-7 and he reminded me a bit of K-2SO from Rogue One. I really loved their adventure and revisiting planets like Utapau, Jakku, Takodana, and Batuu. In particular, it was really cool visiting Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities because this is something I’m looking forward to seeing at Galaxy’s Edge.
Force Collector has a lot of fun tie-ins into Star Wars canon, which I will detail below. Even if simply taken as a “greatest hits of Star Wars canon”, this YA novel can be enjoyed by any Star Wars fan. However, what really stuck the landing for me was where Karr’s story ends up. He is on a path to becoming a Jedi and discovers that he is the great grandson of a Jedi. However, Maz Kanata helps him realize that being a Jedi is not his path. Ultimately, his purpose is to become a Force collector, sort of a historian of the Force, so people in the galaxy know the truth about the Jedi. This was a brilliant, unexpected surprise to his story, but a welcome one to be sure.
- Karr and Maize visit Utapau and witness the moment from Revenge of the Sith when Obi-Wan has a conversation with the leader of Utapau about the Clone War.
- They also visit Jakku and interact with Unkar Plutt on their quest to discover more objects that will elicit Karr’s Force ability of psychometry.
- On Takodana, Karr has a conversation with Maz Kanata, and Maz informs him that his path in the Force is not to become a Jedi. There is also a fun bit where Han lead Maz to believe that she has his medal from Yavin, but it was actually Luke’s medal.
- While on Batuu, Karr and Maize visit Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, which is a location that you can actually go to in Galaxy’s Edge.
- In one of his visions, Karr sees the death of Sifo-Dyas. Sifo-Dyas was the Jedi who ordered the creation of the clone army.
- Through many of Karr’s vision, we see the story of Anakin and Luke Skywalker unfold.
I highly recommend Force Collector if you have not read it. I would describe it as a feel-good Star Wars novel that feels like Star Wars. If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments section! Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!